Recipes: Have a Blue Christmas with the Jack Frost Cocktail
When a cocktail goes viral on social media, it’s often thanks to an undeniable visual appeal. Case in point, the Grinch cocktail, whose glowing, bright-green hue is courtesy of the melon-flavored liqueur Midori. This year, the Jack Frost cocktail—with its eye-catching, frosty blue coloring imparted by blue Curaçao—has already proved another holiday hit.
Here’s the down low on this cocktail, and how to make a (slightly more) refined version worthy of a Wine Enthusiast-approved holiday gathering.
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What Is the Jack Frost?
Different versions of this drink abound across the internet. Some are rum-based, while others lean into vodka. Some are spiked with Prosecco and some are blended with ice. Some are blended with Prosecco (don’t do this). More still are essentially blue piña coladas.
From where did this drink emerge? It can be difficult to determine the precise beginnings of even the most classic cocktails; staples from the daiquiri to the Greyhound all have contested origin stories. (After all, drinkers don’t necessarily have the most reliable memories.) When it comes to cocktails on the web, you can multiply that a hundredfold. To wit, it’s seemingly impossible to trace the exact origins of the Jack Frost.
It’s definitely having a moment, though: The hashtag #jackfrostcocktail has racked up about 4.6 million views and counting on TikTok. One version, whipped up in 2021 by the possibly already tipsy @jennifervalentyne, currently has 1.7 million likes on the platform. Instagram renditions, such as this drink uploaded in November from @everydaycocktail_, have also racked up tens of thousands of likes.
What they all have in common is pineapple juice and a lot of booze—including, crucially, blue Curaçao. This does not bode well for most Jack Frost cocktails, sadly: Technically an orange liqueur, blue Curaçaos generally have the flat, sweet, somewhat insipid flavor of a bottom-shelf triple sec. (The exception is the French-made Giffard Curaçao bleu, which we use in our blue margarita. It can be pricey and tricky to find, but it’s worth a buy if you spot it.) Many online recipes feature an ounce, or even two, of blue Curaçao per drink—and that’s a one-way ticket to a one-note cocktail with a sticky-sweet aftertaste, not to mention a pounding headache the morning after.
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Let’s Dress It Up
So how do we make a significantly tastier, and slightly more upscale, version of the Jack Frost? (Slightly. This is a bright blue holiday drink, after all.) First off, keep the pineapple and coconut. Keep the blue color, naturally. And the cocktail should probably be, well, frosty.
Our version starts with a white rum base. Vodka will work fine here, if you prefer, but slightly weightier rum is a natural pairing for pineapple and coconut. To render the drink a bit lighter, we’ve swapped out coconut cream for the much less heavy coconut water. As a result, the cocktail is brighter and more lively—a little less beachside-in-Puerto-Rico. Lime juice perks up the acidity and counters the sugar. Finally, instead of loading the blender with blue Curaçao alone, we’ve paired it with a fabulous classic orange liqueur, Grand Marnier. The marriage means the drink benefits from the Grand Marnier’s rich citrus flavor while letting the blue Curaçao’s vibrant hue do its eye-popping work.
Toss it all in a blender with ice, blend until slushy, and you’ve got a frosty blue drink that’s as party-ready as they get.
What About the Snowflake Rim?
Since viral cocktails are all about visual appeal, it makes perfect sense that online versions often feature a shredded coconut “snowflake” rim. It certainly makes for a cute photo, but the execution can be iffy. Moisture alone isn’t enough to adhere large coconut flakes to a glass, so some methods rely on rimming drinking vessels with sticky corn syrup or agave. The problem with both is that you’re loading the glass with an additional sweetener, plus both tend to drip. Translation: These drinks turn into messy sugar bombs in a hurry.
Our solution, if you’re set on a coconut rim: Look for finely-shredded coconut (sometimes labeled as “dessicated”) rather than larger flakes. Carefully moisten the rim of your glass with water, then roll in the finely shredded coconut. Then pop the glass in the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes. Once frozen, the coconut will stay neatly in place, and, as an added bonus, your Jack Frost will be even frostier.
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How to Make a Jack Frost Cocktail
By Carey Jones
- Finely shredded coconut, to garnish (optional)
- 3 ounces white rum
- 1 ounce Grand Marnier
- ½ ounce blue Curaçao
- 1½ ounces lime juice
- 1 ounce pineapple juice
- 3 ounces coconut water
- 2 ounces simple syrup
Optional coconut rim: Before building the drink, moisten the rim of the glass. Pour the finely shredded coconut onto a small plate and spread in a thin layer. Roll the glass’s rim into the coconut to coat. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to allow the coconut to adhere to the glass.
To build the drink: Combine all ingredients in a blender. Add two cups of ice. Blend until smooth. To serve, pour into rocks glasses or similar vessel.
Published: December 4, 2023